WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox are set to rotate three UC Irvine Anteaters through the lineup and rotation this season, Head Coach AJ Proszek announced Tuesday.
Keston Hiura, a freshman outfielder, Mitchell Holland, a junior infielder, and Sean Sparling, a sophomore right-hander, will all head north to Wenatchee this summer.
Hiura, a native of Valencia, Calif., will patrol the outfield at Paul Thomas Sr. Field this season. He played high school baseball at Valencia High School.
“Most guys like Keston are just eager to come in and get better and eager to work hard every day,” Proszek said. “We continue to get nothing but the best individuals and talent that we’re looking for from UC Irvine.”
Hiura was the 2014 Foothill League Player of the Year a season ago. He was also Valencia High School’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year and selected All-CIF Southern Section First Team. He hit 14 home runs as a high school senior and had 48 hits. Hiura scored 43 times and drove in 30 runs.
Currently UC Irvine’s leading hitter, Hiura is batting .363 and has started all 24 games for the Anteaters. He sports a team-best 33 hits, with four home runs, 18 RBI, six doubles, and two triples. Defensively, he has recorded 47 putouts, with two assists and just one error.
Holland, a native of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., will be a part of the AppleSox infield in 2015. He was previously at Saddleback College in California.
“Coach [Mike] Gillespie said this is a guy you’re really going to want to keep an eye on,” Proszek said. “He’s big, physical, and will probably be a power guy in the order. He said he can’t wait to get up here and get summer ball started.”
Last season, Holland was the 2014 Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Saddleback College and voted the team’s Most Valuable Player. He also earned the Orange Empire Conference Gold Glove while hitting .321 with 22 runs scored on 45 hits. He had seven doubles, one three-bagger and hit three round-trippers.
Holland ranks amongst the top-three hitters for UC Irvine. Currently, he owns a .315 average with five doubles, a triple, and four RBI. He has a .989 fielding percentage.
Sparling, a native of Whittier, Calif., will join the AppleSox bullpen. He played his high school baseball at La Habra High School.
“He’s a competitor,” Proszek said. “Coach Gillespie talked highly of him, along with the rest of the staff.”
Last season, Sparling saw time in seven games for the Anteaters, hurling 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. He allowed only one walk and surrendered seven earned runs.
Sparling has a 0-1 record with a 5.60 ERA through 10 relief appearances. Through 17 2/3 innings, he has struck out 10 batters and walked seven.
Wenatchee opens its season with a two-game nonleague series against the San Francisco Seals, June 4-5, at Paul Thomas Sr. Field. Tickets can be purchased by calling 509-665-6900, or by visiting: http://www.applesox.com/tickets/